University Chief’s $1.9 Million Pay Disturbs Some

Ann McClure's picture

Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee lives in a 9,630-square-foot Tudor Revival mansion that was renovated for him, featuring a great hall, pool, elevator and tennis court.

Gee made $1.9 million last year as the highest-paid public university president in the U.S. He also logged $1.7 million in expenses in fiscal 2011, including airfare for trips in private jets, country club dues and fundraising parties at his residence.

"He's overpaid," said CJ Jones, 19, a junior public affairs major at Ohio State, whose tuition has risen 9.7 percent during her 2 1/2 years at the university, based in Columbus, the state capital. "You should want that job for a sense of Buckeye pride. Why do you have to suck so many resources from our budget? I know kids graduating from OSU with $90,000 in debt, and it's a public university."

Gee was among 47 administrators, athletic officials and hospital faculty who earned more than $1 million in 2011, according to payroll records compiled by Bloomberg for about 216,000 employees at flagship universities in the 12 most populous states. Much of the compensation came from non-public sources. Gee's expenses and home renovations weren't funded with taxpayer dollars, and his performance justifies his compensation, said Gayle Saunders, a university spokeswoman.

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